Fused Thoughts – A Tale From Two Women III

I held her just as the buckle hit her on the back. I had gone to check my car when I heard Ma Lily’s door open and a heart wrenching scream. I didn’t trust my crazy neighbour or her brats. The early evening spat might have caused them to do something crazy like deflating my tires, that’s how bothersome and crazy they were.

I ran to where Ma Lily was half of her in, half out. With one hand, I dragged at her while with the other I struggled for the belt. We were all screaming at each other whilst the children watched us, watched the adults indulge in their ‘favourite’ past time.

Ma Lily’s husband nearly succeeded in getting the belt from me till someone else grabbed the cursed belt from us both. It was the landlord’s son.

“What is wrong with you? Do you want to kill her?” He screamed at Ma Lily’s husband.

I left the men to have a go at each other, by then Lily had started crying. I couldn’t risk going in to take Lily not when the men were having an almost violent argument.

“Jeremiah, please carry your sister inside,” I yelled hoping that the deafening noise wouldn’t drown out my request. But he seemed to have heard because he carried his sister who was wailing whilst resisting and dragged his other brother inside their room.

Turning my attention to Ma Lily, I half lifted her up the stairs towards my apartment. I didn’t think of the implications I just wanted her out of there.

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I felt thoroughly ashamed. I have always perceived myself as a woman with dignity now all that was gone. Everyone now saw through my pretense, how pathetic my life was. I thought about what Shola had said. She wanted me to leave him but it was easier said than done. Lily was still a toddler, Jeremiah and Benjamin didn’t deserve me tearing them away from their father and I couldn’t bear to leave them behind as well; I doubted their father would give them up without a fight. The idea was tempting but I wasn’t strong enough to carry it out.

 

There was a thick tension in the house and I had started sleeping in the children’s room, I only went to the room to take the clothes I’d wear for work. I couldn’t even dress in there, didn’t want someone strangling me from behind because that was how he looked at me these days like a filthy heathen fit to be killed.

The children too were quiet and everyone walked on tip-toes. We carried on that way till it happened.

Jeremiah answered the door that day.

“How are you? Where are your parents?” The voice asked.

“Fine, they are inside. Please sit down sir.”

I had avoided him since the day his son came to help and wondered what he wanted. I heard my husband greet him cautiously.

“Good afternoon sir just came to remind you that your rent would expire next month; and you know how it is done. You write to us so we would know what to do once the time is up.”

“No problem sir. We will communicate as usual.”

“It’s okay, abeg don’t fight again oh. This life is an easy one. I hope Ma Lily is fine?”

“Yes sir, thank you.”

“Greet the children for me.”

“They will hear sir.”

That evening after a quiet dinner, my husband finally spoke. Apart from the basic greetings and food announcement, we had said nothing to each other for two weeks plus.

“When will the house rent be ready?”

I had been expecting the question, “I don’t know.”

Silence and then “Is this like a punishment or what?”

“Look, I don’t want to get in a fight…”

“Really? Because it looks like you have just thrown the gauntlet. What was your reply supposed to prove?”

“Okay, I don’t feel like paying the house rent. I need the money for something else.”

“Like what?”

“Something else,” I replied with a shrug.

“So we get thrown out on the streets because you have a grudge?”

Silence

“Hilda?”

“John”

“Do you have anything to say?”

“Nothing”

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Every time I passed their door, I could barely restrain myself. I wanted to knock and inquire on how she was doing but I knew my limits. I couldn’t go to her; she had to come to me. We were communicating via text messages though. After my plea for her to leave fell through, I had to put a little emotional distance between us; didn’t want her giving me unnecessary heartache.

 

And yet this week, something about her had changed. She no longer cowered when walking. I had always seen her after the incident darting into her apartment, wanting to escape probing eyes but not this week. I wanted to ask what had change but couldn’t dare, if she wanted me to know she would reach out.

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He watched her transformation at first with contempt and then a growing sense of alarm. Yes, he had anger issues and sometimes found it hard to control it. It really was something he tried to work on but his fists sometimes brought out the worst in him what with the help of his wife’s attitude. Yes, she was putting her all into helping the family but which Nigerian wife shouldn’t; men did it all the time why not women?

 

It was frustrating trying your hand out at different businesses and failing at them. It made him feel like less of a man. He wanted to be able to live life without struggling to rise above financial worries. It was that way before, long before the second child came so what had changed?

 

He had thought that her decision to sleep in the children’s room was going to be temporary but it was dragging on and he couldn’t let go of his pride to ask her to come back to their bed but this business of her not wanting to pay the rent was not only humiliating to himself but to them as a family. He had not wanted to think much about it but he couldn’t stop the growing panic.

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I am growing stronger in my resolve to take a decision on whether I would ask for a separation or pay the rent. The rent was the focal point because paying it would mean I was committing myself. I no longer looked embarrassed when I left the ‘cover’ of the apartment to step outside. At first, the neighbours had been evasive and uncharacteristically nice till Chijioke’s mother began her trouble making again; a welcome development because I couldn’t stand her pitiable efforts at being nice.

 

Coming back with the children, I opened the door expecting to see my husband on his usual spot on the sofa. It didn’t really strike me as strange perhaps he was in the bedroom. The children had run right in oblivious to anything and were making a lot of chatter. None noticed the change but I did, it wasn’t only the empty sofa, it was something else, a change in the air.

For the first time in forever, an aroma came from the kitchen, something I wasn’t responsible for.

I walked to the kitchen, heart pounding and saw him stirring a pot. The sight did more to me than I thought it would. It rendered me speechless. Sensing my presence, he turned.

“Welcome, how was work?”

“Good…afternoon…fine”

“No hug for your husband?”

Huh?



9 thoughts on “Fused Thoughts – A Tale From Two Women III” by enoquin (@enoquin)

  1. Na real ‘Huh?’. Nice one enoquin. I missed the second part but this was well written just like the first. One question tho, how did the neighbor know that much?

  2. Oh dont fall for that bullshit….nigga is pretending…..

  3. Huh! Is totally an appopriate expression here, I pray it is for real oh! @enoquin– there are some tenses you may want to change. Good work. Keep it up.

  4. The interval between each episode is kinda far.

    Nice episode.

  5. I’m seconding @namdi.
    If this change is actually for real, Ma Lily is in for a nice time.
    But no! don’t yet fall for it until you’re sure.
    Well done.

  6. huh? na wash o..lol
    don’t take too long to post please..

  7. Well-written story, @enoquin.

    The transitions were jarring for me. I guess you’re trying out something with the multiple first person POV, but I had to re-read the story to figure out who was who in each section. Maybe this works better if each section is longer.

    Well done.

  8. @enoquin
    nice piece here lolzzzzzzzzz

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